‘A capital dinner! you don’t get moor mutton, with hot laver sauce every day!’ Collins, 1875.
Laver (Porphyra laciniata and green laver (Ulva latissima) are the same as Sloke in Ireland and Scotland, bt they are in much greater daily use in the Swansea and south Pembrokeshire district. Laver is a smooth fine seaweed, sometimes called sea-spinach, which clings to the rocks like silk. Bara Lawr – Laverbread – is a misleading name for it does not resemble bread at all but a dark, brownish, spinach-like puree. For these cakes it is mixed with oatmeal and fried with bacon for breakfast.
Prepared laver, usually tinned, can be obtained from health food shops, specialist grocers and some supermarkets. If bought fresh it must be washed very well in cold, running water to remove all sand and then boiled in water for 30 – 40 minutes and drained thoroughly; at this stage it will look a little like cooked spinach. When cooked it is minced or chopped ad it then becomes laverbread, ready for use.
To make Laver Sauce, mix the prepared laver with a squeeze of bitter orange juice, butter, and some gravy from the lamb or mutton, all well seasoned. This sauce is good with lobster or other shellfish, substituting cream for the mutton gravy. The sauce can also be served on toast or in sandwiches, and mixed with lemon juice and a little olive oil makes an hors d’oeuvre.
Laverbread Cakes (Teisennau Bara Lawr)Course: Recipe
4 oz fine oatmeal
6 rashers bacon
- Mix the laverbread and oatmeal together and form the mixture into small round, flatish cakes.
- Fry the prepared cakes in hot fat (preferably bacon fat) using a palette knife to keep them in shape.
- Fry until they are crisp and brown on both sides. Serve with the grilled rashers of bacon as a breakfast dish.